Return of income : Signature : S. 139 and S. 140 of Income-tax Act, 1961 : A.Y. 2003-04 : Return of income signed by assessee was filed after his death. Not a valid return.
CIT v. Moti Ram 175 Taxman 27 (P&H)
The assessee expired on 14-9-2003. Before death, the assessee had signed the return of income for the A.Y. 2003-04. The return was filed on 28-11-2003 i.e., after his death. The Assessing Officer completed the assessment u/s.143(3) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 in spite of contention raised by the legal heirs that the return filed by the assessee was null and void. The CIT(A) cancelled the assessment holding that the return filed in the name of the assessee after his death was null and void ab initio, and hence any action taken on such a return was also null and void. The Tribunal upheld the decision of the CIT(A).
On appeal by the Revenue, the Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld the decision of the Tribunal and held as under :
"(i) In the instant case the return was filed on 28-11-2003. On that day, the assessee had already expired. The return filed with the signatures of the assessee after his death cannot be taken as valid return filed by the assessee himself. Undisputedly, the return was neither signed, nor verified by the legal heirs of the deceased.
(ii) The return filed in this case was null and void. In our opinion, no valid assessment could have been made on the basis of an invalid and void return."